[London] After walking out the doors of Chin Chin Labs there was just one resounding thought in my mind: if this was the future of ice-cream, then by goodness did it look marvellous.
There are 3 places where you can find Chin Chin Ice Cream in London – at Chin Chin Labs Camden; Chin Chin Club Soho; and Chin Chin Dessert Bar Street Feast Hawker House which opens only on Friday and Saturdays from 5 to 11pm.
Being Europe’s first liquid nitrogen ice-cream parlour, it was once named “The Best ice cream Parlour in England”, by The Times.
Chin Chin is not just any kind of ice-cream parlour. In fact, it really isn’t a parlour at all.
It is essentially a lab, an actual ice-cream lab that is open to the public, where all the right kinds of experiments for the good of humanity are taking place.
From the transparent cylindrical containers of cinnamon toast, truffle crumble and grilled white chocolate in caged boxes, to the assembly line of mixers and the large tanks of nitrous oxide, this little place is fitted with the works.
But not in any way that takes from the good vibes of the little café and ice-cream lab.
The place is lit with bulbs attached to metal pipes, has a few wooden tables and chairs that are placed against the walls, and shows-off, what seems like a fixture of the restaurant by now, an ever-present queue of people that extend out into the rest of Camden Lock Market.
All of the customers are either waiting for their choice of famous ice-creams made with liquid nitrogen, or for the temptingly mallowy hot chocolate for which Chin Chin staff bring out their blow torches.
Doubling as a café as well, Chin Chin Lab also offers a selection of well-roasted coffee for those who enjoy some caffeine with their dessert.
In terms of the ice-cream, Chin Chin wow the crowd on three levels: the first being their exciting selection of flavours starting with the similarly priced vanilla-esque Tonka Bean, robust dark Valrhona Chocolate, and Burnt Butter Caramel with a hint of sea salt (£4.45, SGD8.20).
From there it moves on to the more expensive though extravagant, creamy Almond Butter, Cherry Jam & Toast (£5.45, SGD10) and the captivatingly velvety Beetroot & Chocolate Mousse (£4.95, SGD9.10).
The next level comprises the way in which these ice-creams are served.
You can have them in The Warmie (£4.95, SGD9.10) which is a scoop of ice-cream encased in a harden shell of tempered chocolate on a crumbly, warm cookie, a Brownie Cookie Sandwich (£5.45, SGD10), effectively a dollop of ice-cream between two soft, doughy cookies, or in the form of a Sticky Toffee Sundae (£5.75, SGD10.60), a moist toffee pudding cake serves with molten caramel and Tonka ice-cream.
Finally, to literally top it all off, it has got the absolutely incredible assortment of toppings, some of which you’ve probably never heard of before: pistachio and cardamom powder, fleur de sel sauce, torched marshmellow, hazelnut sand, and many more.
I must give special shout out to the grilled white chocolate which was superb with my Warmie and Cookie Sandwich.
Making a trip up to Camden Lock Place is an absolute must for any foodie, if not for the wide variety of street food stalls then for the stunning ice-cream at Chin Chin.
I have only discovered the place a few months ago and I already cannot count the amount of times I have visited.
Chin Chin Club Soho
54 Greek Street London W1D 3DS
Opening Hours: 1pm – 9pm (Mon– Thurs), 1pm – 10pm (Fri- Sat), 1pm – 8pm (Sun)
Chin Chin Dessert Bar Street Feast Hawker House
Hawker House Canada Street London, SE16 2XU
Opening Hours: 5pm – 11pm (Fri – Sat)
* Written by DFD’s London Food Correspondent Leander Dias SaltyCritic. Leander Dias was born and raised in Dubai, a burgeoning city with diverse food culture. Since moving to London to read for his English MA at UCL, he has utterly immersed himself in the local food scene, writing extensively about everything he eats everywhere he goes. Daniel’s Food Diary pays for food reviewed unless otherwise stated.